VIDEO PREMIERE: Annika Socolofsky’s ‘Turadh’

by Peter Tracy

With fall now fully underway, it can often feel like there’s nothing but gray clouds on the horizon. Every once in a while, though, the sky clears up for a moment or an afternoon, reminding us that the sun keeps shining just beyond the clouds.

The simple pleasure of these moments is part of the impulse behind composer and vocalist Annika Socolofsky’s piece Turadh, which is titled after a Scottish word for a “break in the clouds.” A collaboration with the New York-based Parhelion Trio, the piece features the ensemble of flute, clarinet, and piano accompanying recordings of Socolofsky playing her 10-stringed Norwegian hardanger d’amore fiddle, an instrument she used to play for her grandmother at her home in rural Kansas. These evenings spent in the warmth of her grandmother’s home inspired a piece that provides its own unique warmth and resonance.

For their new video, Socolofsky and the Parhelion Trio draw on the talents of media artist and filmmaker XUAN, whose ambient lighting and experimental video editing present the piece in an elegant new light.

We’re thrilled to premiere the new video for Socolofsky’s Turadh.

Travel Music, Microtones, and Modern Opera: New Music for November

by Maggie Molloy

Second Inversion and the Live Music Project create a monthly calendar featuring contemporary classical, cross-genre, and experimental performances in Seattle, the Eastside, Tacoma, and places in between! 

If you’d like to be included on this list, please submit your event to the Live Music Project at least six weeks prior to the event and tag it with “new music.”

November-2019-New-Music-Flyer


Wayward Music Series
Concerts of contemporary composition, free improvisation, electroacoustic music, and sonic experiments. Coming up: acoustic portraits, immersive winds, sonic geometry, and “unofficial music.”
Various days, 7:30/8pm, Good Shepherd Chapel | $5-$15

Emerald City Music: ‘In the Dark’
Get lost in the dark as Emerald City Music performs the spine-tingling music of Georg Friedrich Haas in total pitch-black darkness. The hour-long string quartet, titled “In iij Noct,” features the four musicians stationed in the four corners of the venue, surrounding the audience and immersing them in Haas’s haunting aleatoric score.
Fri, 11/1, 8pm & 10:30pm, 415 Westlake | $45
Sat, 11/2, 7:30pm, Washington Center for the Performing Arts (Olympia) | $28-$43

Seattle Modern Orchestra: Norwegian Odyssé
The mystic sounds of Norway come alive in this concert featuring five U.S. premieres by Norwegian composers, including Rebecka Sofia Ahvenniemi’s chilling The child who became invisible for soprano, percussion, and electronics and Knut Vaage’s epic Odyssé for sinfonietta.
Sun, 11/3, 1:30pm, National Nordic Museum | $10-$30

Music of Remembrance: Passage
While a political prisoner at the Sachsenhausen concentration camp in the 1940s, Aleksander Kulisiewicz dared to write poetry and music right under the noses of his Nazi captors. Hear composer Paul Schoenfield’s Pulitzer-nominated setting of Kulisiewicz’s biting poetry, plus world premieres by Ryuichi Sakamoto and Shinji Eshima.
Sun, 11/3, 4pm, Nordstrom Recital Hall | $30-$55

Kate Soper. Photo by Liz Linder.

Seattle Symphony: Kate Soper in Recital
The line between live and pre-recorded sound begins to blur in Kate Soper’s immersive recital of original works for voice and electronics. Joined by sound artist Sam Pluta, Soper mines the expressive potential of the human voice.
Sun, 11/3, 6pm, Octave 9 | $25

Gamelan Pacifica: Vocal Music of Central Java
Drums, metallophones, and a wide array of tuned gongs are among the instruments you’ll see onstage during a traditional Javanese gamelan performance. Since 1980, Gamelan Pacifica has been performing traditional and contemporary gamelan music with dance, theater, and puppetry. For this performance, they’re joined by Javanese artists Ki Midiyanto and Heni Savitri.
Sun, 11/3, 7pm, PONCHO Concert Hall | $5-$20

Seattle Symphony: Chick Corea Plays ‘Rhapsody in Blue’
Twenty-two-time Grammy-winning jazz pianist Chick Corea teams up with the Seattle Symphony for Gershwin’s iconic Rhapsody in Blue, plus a performance of his own original Piano Concerto No. 1.
Wed, 11/6, 7:30pm, Benaroya Hall | $62-$82

Meany Center: Danish String Quartet
Completed in the year before his death, Shostakovich’s final string quartet is an introspective meditation on mortality. The Danish String Quartet performs this moving work alongside music of Bach and Beethoven.
Thurs, 11/7, 7:30pm, Meany Theater | $41-$49

Cappella Romana: Kastalsky Requiem
As Europe descended into the chaos of World War I, Alexander Kastalsky began composing his haunting Requiem to commemorate the allied soldiers who had fallen. Epic in scale and scope, the work receives its Northwest premiere under the baton of guest conductor Steven Fox.
Fri, 11/8, 7:30pm, St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church | $32-$52

Seattle Symphony: Angelique Poteat Cello Concerto
Seattle-based clarinetist and composer Angelique Poteat turns her attention to the cello in a new concerto which receives its premiere by Efe Baltacıgil and the Seattle Symphony.
11/14-11/16, Various times, Benaroya Hall | $24-$134

Seattle Opera presents The Falling & the Rising. Photo by Ziggy Mack.

Seattle Opera: The Falling & The Rising
Interviews with active-duty soldiers and veterans formed the basis of this new chamber opera by composer Zach Redler and librettist Jerre Dye. Tracing a soldier’s journey through a battle explosion and a medically-induced coma, the opera seeks to shine a light on often untold stories of service and sacrifice.
11/15-11/24, Various times, Seattle Opera Center | $35-$45

Harry Partch Ensemble: Final UW Concerts
Two chances remain to hear the inimitable handmade instruments of Harry Partch before the collection’s residency at UW concludes. On Thursday, director Charles Corey and his cast of local musicians perform Partch’s sprawling And On The Seventh Day Petals Fell In Petaluma, selections from his haunting Eleven Intrusions, and more. On Friday, the Partch Ensemble teams up with UW Percussion for another program of ear-expanding works.
Thurs, 11/21, 7:30pm, Meany Hall Studio Theater | $10
Fri, 11/22, 7:30pm, Meany Studio Theatre | $10

The Harry Partch Instrumentarium concludes its residency at UW this November.

Seattle Symphony: ‘The Rite of Spring’
I
t’s a piece that needs no introduction: Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring has been the stuff of classical music legend ever since its riot-inducing premiere in 1913. This earthshaking ballet about the pagan sacrifice of a virgin dancing herself to death is expertly paired with Scriabin’s The Poem of Ecstasy.
Thurs, 11/21, 7:30pm, Benaroya Hall | $24-$134
Sat, 11/23, 8pm, Benaroya Hall | $24-$134

Composer Gabriel Kahane.

Gabriel Kahane: ‘Book of Travelers’
A train ride across the country provided ample time and inspiration for composer and multi-instrumentalist Gabriel Kahane to craft a musical diary of America. He performs selections from his Book of Travelers alongside wide-ranging songs from his other albums.
Sat, 11/23, 8pm, Meany Theater | $31-$39

Paco Díez: Music from Northern Spain
Born into a family of farm workers in the heart of Castille, singer and multi-instrumentalist Paco Díez grew up steeped in the folk music, traditions, and histories of his homeland. Widely considered one of the most important champions of Judeo-Spanish music today, Díez is joined by his students in a performance of Sephardic and Castilian folk music.
Tues, 11/26, 7:30pm, UW Brechemin Auditorium | Free

VIDEO PREMIERE: Michael Gordon’s ‘To the West’

by Maggie Molloy

The vast landscapes and rich histories of Big Sky, Montana are the inspiration behind a new large-scale collaboration between composer Michael Gordon, filmmaker Bill Morrison, and the chamber choir The Crossing.

Montaña is a project unfolding over the course of four years, with the artists meeting each summer in Big Sky to invest in chapters of what will ultimately become a long-form spatial work for a cappella choir and film. Drawing on frontier ballads, cowboy songs, and historical texts, the piece explores not only the expansive geography of Montana but also sounds and stories from the American frontier. The ongoing project invites the public into the artistic process through performances at the end of each summer at the Warren Miller Performing Arts Center.

But you don’t have to be in Montana to hear it. We’re thrilled to premiere a new video from Four/Ten Media featuring a section from Montaña titled “To the West,” which sets words from Chief Tecumseh and Thomas Jefferson.


For more information on Montaña, including interviews with the creators, click here.

ALBUM REVIEW: ‘Celesta’ by Michael Jon Fink

by Peter Tracy

Even at their most outgoing, instruments like the celesta tend to hide in larger ensembles, coming out of the texture for little moments here and there. Perhaps this is because the celesta tends to be a quiet instrument: its tuned metal bars give off a delicate ring that is subtle and long lasting, but won’t compete with a horn section or timpani.

On his latest album, appropriately titled Celesta, Los Angeles-based composer Michael Jon Fink moves the instrument to center stage. Rather than burying the instrument in a larger ensemble, Fink applies his sparse, tranquil, and quietly mysterious musical language to this often-overlooked instrument, creating what is among the largest ever collections of music for solo celesta.

Comprised of twelve short pieces performed by the composer, this is an album in which less is more. Ranging from under one minute long to just over six, the pieces as a whole form something of an arc, at times melancholic, joyful, nostalgic, or pensive, but always quiet and spacious.

This suite of sorts begins with “Call,” a gently lilting melody over bell-like arpeggiations that is reminiscent of a tune from an ancient music box. “Cold Pastoral” features two lines in sparse counterpoint, with a simple and repetitive, yet slowly varying melodic phrase that brings to mind a lake frozen in the dead of winter. The pensive stillness takes on a nostalgic tone in “Bells,” with pentatonic melodies that twinkle like a wind chime. “From the Singing River” turns things in a more mysterious direction, with little melodic variations that seems to circle around without ever arriving at their final destination.

The following two pieces, “First Star, Last Star” and “Post-Impression” continue this trend, tending toward pensive arpeggiated melodies with plenty of space to let the instrument’s soft tones reverberate. By “Ruins,” things have settled into a meditative trance, with the title helping to inspire a feeling of something that has been lost to the past. Slightly more active pieces follow, with the tenuously hopeful “Sunless” incorporating some of the lower notes of the five-octave celesta and the eerie “Nocturne for the Three Times” drifting through incredibly sparse and atmospheric textures.

“Softly Yellowed Moon” is equally enigmatic, with two lines providing melody and harmony that wind their way down into the longest piece on the album, “Triptych.” Loosely divided into three parts, the piece begins with a quietly wandering melody over a left-hand ostinato before moving into what is the most openly joyful music of the album. Eventually, the music reaches an almost animated conclusion featuring crescendos in tight harmony and the celesta sounding more bell-like than ever. The appropriately named “After the End,” then, seems to question this borderline excitement, leaving us with a somber and unsettlingly harmonized reflection.

Still, the album avoids drawing a clear conclusion. Is there a story here in the space between the notes, or are we just meant to reflect on the round tones of the celesta as they fade into silence? Each piece feels like a small and crystalline world of its own, inviting the listener to discover their own meaning for themselves.

Floating Through ‘Triadic Memories’: Jesse Myers on the Music of Morton Feldman

by Maggie Molloy

It’s easy to lose track of time amid the sparse tones of Morton Feldman’s Triadic Memories. The 90-minute solo piano work lends itself well to meditation—which is exactly the idea behind pianist Jesse Myers’ October 25 performance at the Good Shepherd Chapel. He invites audience members to slow down, grab a pillow and get lost in its softly sprawling sounds.

In this in-studio interview, Myers talks with us about the music of Morton Feldman, the magic of sensory amplification, and what it feels like to float in sound.


Audio engineering by Nikhil Sarma. Music in this interview is from Feldman’s Triadic Memories, performed and recorded by Jesse Myers.
For more information on his October 25 performance, click here.